Padres Prospect Interview: Wilton Lopez

Wilton Lopez has high expectations of himself. One thing he has found since coming to the States is more instruction – and he is listening to the advice.

You were in the Yankees system at some point. How did it come about that the Padres signed you?

Wilton Lopez: I was playing with the Yankees and went back to Nicaragua and was playing ball. The Padres scouted me and gave me an opportunity to play over here.

Talk about what pitches you have and what speeds you throw them at.

Wilton Lopez: I throw a lot of sinkers mainly. I try and throw the four-seam fastball when I am behind. I throw a lot of sliders and changeups also. I have gotten it up to 95 MPH but stay around 93 to 94.

What is the difference in what you have learned since coming to the United States?

Wilton Lopez: I have learned a lot on my mechanics, working on that mainly. They are preaching to me to throw my slider more and not pulling my head as much so when I throw my pitches I stay more on a line towards home.

You have been successful in Fort Wayne – what was the difference in the California League and Fort Wayne?

Wilton Lopez: In Lake Elsinore there were a lot more patient hitters. You have to throw a lot more strikes. You can't leave the ball right down the middle because they will punish it.

You mentioned working on your slider more. Why is that?

Wilton Lopez: I want to perfect it. I need another out pitch. I am really working on staying in line with my head and not pulling it so much. That will help me with my slider.

Did you meet your expectations this year?

Wilton Lopez: I was getting to my goal. I did not have as many chances in Fort Wayne as I would have liked but coming into Lake Elsinore and the closer role gave me more chances. I wanted to have a 2-something ERA.

How does the off-season change for you now that you will be playing with the Padres in the United States?

Wilton Lopez: I don't have any set plans for the off-season just yet. I don't know what the Padres want to do with me. Are they going to keep me as a closer or change me into a starting pitcher? That will change my approach.

What do you have to improve to move up?

Wilton Lopez: What I have talked about before – I want to keep my head in line when I throw my slider. I don't have a bad slider but if I can get my mechanics better it will improve even more. That is what I will keep working on to move along – as well as improving my changeup.

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